The Department of Transportation announced on Monday that the Biden administration will provide almost $500 million to hundreds of airplane manufacturing businesses. According to the Department, $482.3 million in financing will be distributed to 313 American firms headquartered in 37 states and Puerto Rico. The payments are part of the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, which was launched in March as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan.
The Associated Press reports that Spirit Aerosystems, a Boeing supplier located in Kansas, is the fund’s largest recipient, with $75.5 million set aside to help safeguard 3,214 jobs. Parker-Hannifin Corp. of Ohio, which manufactures plane hydraulic systems, will get $39.7 million. Panasonic’s avionics division in California will receive $25.8 million, and various U.S. subdivisions of France’s Safran S.A. will receive a total of $24.8 million.
According to the DOT announcement, the initiative will provide the manufacturers with enough cash to cover 50% of their salary needs for specific employee categories for up to six months. The funding could help protect roughly 23,000 jobs put at risk due to the pandemic’s economic circumstances. The DOT stated that more than 100,000 aerospace jobs had been lost due to the epidemic, with hundreds of thousands more in danger. They also said that protecting endangered aerospace jobs may help both the airline sector and the supply chain, as approximately 1.2 million of the 2.2 million aerospace employees in the country contribute to the supply chain.
Airlines in the United States have collected about $54 billion in government funds over the last 18 months. The airlines also promised not to lay off any staff. However, they cut tens of thousands of jobs by enticing people to leave or retire early. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker insists that airlines would have been forced to shut down without government assistance when air travel dropped to its lowest levels since the 1950s.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated, “for the past year and a half, our aviation industry workers have helped keep this economy moving, including by supporting the delivery of lifesaving medical equipment and vaccines. The funding announced today will save jobs and support the workers who have supported us throughout the pandemic.”
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, local officials imposed extreme limitations on numerous economic activities creating chaos for the airline industry. According to Transportation Security Administration statistics, while the number of daily air travelers grew significantly in 2021 over 2020, it is still well below 2019 levels.